Solidarity Volunteering: Strong Relationships, Mutual Development

Four Months In

clare-with-kids-selfie

by Clare Lourey, volunteer in Ofcolaco, South Africa- My name is Clare (or Khensani as the local staff and children now call me), I’m a primary school teacher from Sydney, Australia. Through Palms I am volunteering at Holy Family Care Centre, South Africa for twelve months. I’m currently four months into my placement and I […]

Kiribati Field Trip

Waters edge

A very special part of Christine O’Halloran’s role as Palms’ Overseas Coordinator is visiting our partners and volunteers in the field. Here she sums up her recent trip to Kiribati- Over the years Palms has sent over 70 volunteers to the Pacific athol nation of Kiribati, matching requests in education, administration, health and the trades. […]

Reflections in order to look forward

Heather's friend Lydia with her students

by Heather Henderson I am almost 12 months into my placement here at Ruben School in Mukuru kwa Ruben. It has been an amazing journey of education for me and to my host community. This community continues to embrace my efforts to help and advise where and when I am asked. It is a mutual […]

Privileged to Volunteer

Philip at Atabae Feature

Now gaining momentum in placement, Philip Cranley from Woodcroft SA looks back over his first six months as volunteer in Dili, Timor Leste- Volunteering is for young people or retirees, right? They are tradespeople, builders, doctors, nurses and teachers, right? So what do you do if you are none of these things but still want […]

Kurríkulu Foun, by Sam Haddin

Sam's classroom during a recent Palms Encounter by the Catholic Education Office

In Timor Leste, appreciation of education is almost universal. The population and government alike see education in all its forms as key to a brighter future. As often happens in a young nation and government emerging from a traumatic past, many systems are trialled and improved upon to find the best structure for the people’s […]

Hope for Health in PNG

Peta and Dr Koka sml

Peta Snikeris, a health lecturer from Wollongong NSW has spent a year in Papua New Guinea mentoring students and staff at Divine Word University’s Faculty of Health Sciences, finding her early hopes fulfilled much more than expected. She writes-   So here I am, twelve months on from arriving at Divine Word University in Madang, […]

A Day Well Spent in Mae Sot

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“The graduation ceremony for the Australian Catholic University (ACU) Diploma in Liberal Studies was held in Mae Sot on the Thai-Burma Border on May 23, 2015. Professor Geraldine Castleton, Deputy Dean in the Faculty of Arts and Education at ACU gave the formal address and presented the testamurs. Others in the platform party were the […]

Talofa Lava, by Richard Harris

Don Bosco Marching in American Samoa crop

With 2 months down, volunteer electrician Richard Harris settles into Samoan life, finding healthy challenges to our own perceptions- Talofa Lava Greetings from Samoa. I have been at Don Bosco Technical Centre (DBTC), Alafua, Samoa since 29th January 2015 as a volunteer teaching the electrical trade. DBTC is run by The Salesians of Australia, a […]

Reflecting on a Year in Dili, by Sam Haddin

Sam & Friends

First-time enquirers to Palms often feel a bit shocked when told our volunteer placements generally last two years. Some are dissuaded, but many will call again after considering the philosophy and effectiveness  of a long-term program. Sam  Haddin explains the importance of a far-sighted view and the crucial time forming relationships– For a little over a […]

Atabae – Ate logo i obrigadu barack

singing

Atabae – Ate logo i obrigadu barack los husi hau nia laran  (Atabae –See you later and I truly thank you from my heart.) by Heather Henderson As I sit to write, I hear the melodious, harmonised voices of a group of young girls walking past my house on their way to somewhere. “Ba ne’be?” […]

Returning to another Home

Palms volunteer Guida Cabrita writes of the excitement in returning home for Christmas, and finds the same excitement when heading back to her host community in Dili, Timor Leste- When most people think of Christmas, they think of spending time with their family. Family is really important in Timor Leste and the extended family is […]

Hello from Africa No.8

Rhinos resized

It can be an uncomfortable chore for the Palms staff to request stories from our Volunteers in the Field for the Palms Post. This is never the case with volunteer Louisa Cataldo, who has provided a constant stream of stories from her placement. Here is her latest Update (No. 8!) from Holy Family Care Centre, […]

Louisa’s Update No. 7

Louisa and FGriends washing Zoe

Louisa Cataldo provides another update from the teaching side of Holy Family Care Centre, South Africa: Life as a volunteer is filled with rewards and equally with some disappointments. And while one certainly does not go looking for the rewards, it is always such a pleasure when they come unexpectedly. And so it happened that […]

Emmaus Farm: a Smorgasbord of Memories

Emmaus Farm

Palms returnee volunteers invariably express that they received much more than they gave during their placements. This would certainly be true of recent returnee Des Hansen as he reminiscences over his experience at Emmaus Farm, his second Palms placement in Papua New Guinea.  Working with the students daily, and sometimes of an evening, was a […]


The ideal of a single civilization for everyone, implicit in the cult of progress
and technique, impoverishes and mutilates us. - Octavio Paz